Size 38

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Text / Jisca Ruiter, Edited / Celia Marie Freiling, Images / Isa Ijpelaar


I hate fitting rooms. Opening their curtains is like leaving self-confidence-land and entering self-doubt-island. Why is it so hard to find clothes with a proper fit? Why is a size S a size M in one store and the other way around in another? I decided to be brave and put this sizing matter to the test by diving into the ocean of confection sizes.

WTF is wrong with fitting rooms and sizes?!

The mirrors conjure dark circles under my eyes like I didn’t sleep for days. The light reveals cellulite I didn’t even know existed and the curtains don’t close all the way, making the boyfriends who patiently wait for their girlfriends -not for me- see me squeezing my bum into those tight pants. I hate the fact that I have to try on three different sizes in order to find the one that (sort of) fits. I hate to answer ‘I don’t know’, when the salesperson asks for my size.

To stop this recurring feeling once and for all, I experimented trying on various suits in my size in multiple high street stores and documented the differences in fits. The first obstacle I came across was finding an accurate size chart that is not linked to a particular brand. After searching for an hour, I gave up; left with no other choice but measuring myself and comparing the sizes of three different size tables. According to them, I am a size 38.

Do I look pregnant in these trousers?

For you to understand my struggle with fitting clothes, I’ll give you a quick brief on my body type. I’m a petite girl: 162 cm when measured in the morning, with wide hips, quite a bum and a small waist. Finding the perfect fit requires a lot of patience and dedication, especially when it comes to trousers. This always leaves me with one of the following outcomes:

1. The trousers fit perfectly around my bum and legs. However, the waist is so wide, I could fit an all-you-can-eat-menu and a five month old foetus in it. And don’t even get me started on the length.





2. The length of the trousers is on fleek, but there is no chance in hell I can fit them over my posterior; leaving me wiggling like a walrus gasping for air.

What did I get myself into?

I already realised what I got myself into when entering the first store and trying on the first two-piece. This experiment is probably both hilarious and a massive attack on my self-confidence. The suit I tried on at Monki had enough room left for me to swim, while I could barely fit a size 38 over my thighs at TopShop. The top of H&M pushed my boobs right up to my chin, while the bottom was just slipping down my body.

My frustration thermometer was reaching an alarming level the more fitting rooms I was entering and my self-confidence reached the same low point after watching a Victoria’s Secret show and being left with the paper of a finished chocolate bar. Weekday’s trousers were not much better, they made me look pregnant (which I’m certainly not). And the suit from Bershka made it seem like I was wearing my pyjamas. I know the Kardashians introduced skin tight clothing, but is it really necessary for trousers to be that tight, ZARA?

Is it me, or the industry?

The experiment left me shocked. I tried on 12 suits, none of them fit me properly. Is it my body that is just too oddly shaped? Or is it not me, but the sizing systems of the industry? It seems like there’s a constant conflict going on between my body and these mass produced garments. I thought sizes were meant to be a guide when finding fitting clothes in self-service shops, yet they only manage to confuse me.

I know for sure I’m not the only one who feels that way. It seems like brands are just randomly attaching size tags to their clothes. They seem to base their sizes on that one ‘perfect’ body, instead of realising and taking into account that we’re all different. For now, the only way to find the right size for me is to keep trying on clothes that don’t fit me, until I find my perfect fit. Up until then, I’ll continue to hate the fitting room.

Curious to find out why you don’t fit into the same size in different stores? Read the article on vanity sizing in the magazine. Garment will launch on the 28th of June at byAMFI, get your copy!

Want to know more about vanity sizing? Read our article in the magazine!

Garment Magazine